Lotto Winner Poisoned by Cyanide: Autopsy

By Andrew Lu on January 08, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A lotto winner in Chicago died the day after he collected his winnings. The cause of death? Cyanide.

Talk about bad luck. Well, first, you need good luck to win a $1 million instant lottery, as happened to Urooj Khan, 46, of Chicago. But after making a public appearance with his wife and daughter and collecting one of those giant checks for $425,000 (his lump-sum, post-tax winnings), the lottery winner was found dead.

The Cook County medical examiner has now concluded that Khan died of cyanide poisoning, an act of murder, reports USA Today. But that's not what the office said at first.

Immediately after Khan's death, the medical examiner stated that Khan had died of natural causes, namely a hardening of his arteries. This followed an initial exam that only looked for trauma and substance abuse, according to USA Today.

However, the medical examiner later got a mysterious call from one of Khan's relatives, asking for further investigation into the lottery winner's death. So the examiner took another look, and after a toxicology test, discovered that Khan had ingested a deadly amount of the poison cyanide. His death is now ruled a homicide.

Khan's 32-year-old wife has already spoken with authorities, and it was not reported if she is a suspect in the death. The two had been married for 12 years.

As with many jurisdictions, the Cook County's medical examiner's office only investigates human deaths in limited circumstances such as the sudden death of otherwise healthy individuals, homicides, and suicides.

In Khan's case, a finding of hardened arteries for a 46-year-old man was initially accepted as a natural death. After all, no coroner's office has the resources to dig deeply into every single death.

But thanks to a tip from a family member, the examiner did discover the poisoning. We now just have to wait to see who will be charged with the lotto winner's murder by cyanide.

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